How would you like to fly an FPV drone with a single hand — and no sticks? The option will be coming to you sooner than you might think.
Yesterday, we wrote a story suggesting DJI might be working on an optional joystick-style remote for its forthcoming FPV drone. We received some credible info from a source, and it sounded like something DJI might consider doing to truly plant a flag in the FPV world. And that got us thinking… radio’s really haven’t changed much over the years. Yes, for sure, they have new features, and there are a couple of new form factors — but the actual controls, two sticks, have been the same for decades.
Then a reader sent us a note. Had we heard about MotionPilot? No, we hadn’t. But we’re really pleased that we took a look.
Swiss ingenuity simplifies the piloting experience
MotionPilot is a startup based in Switzerland. And it’s got a super-cool product that we think will find itself plenty of converts: A single-handed, intuitive controller for FPV flight. Pitch, roll, and yaw are all controlled by the way you position the controller in space:
Here’s the elevator pitch version:
Vector brings motion control to the world of First Person View. As you arm your drone, Vector will precisely track the attitude of your hand. Each of the three control axis – yaw, pitch and roll – of the remote correspond to the drone’s motion. The result is an intuitive and immersive piloting experience while zipping through the air… The Vector user interface is designed for FPV. Throttle is precisely controlled using the trigger. The main button allows to arm your drone quickly while the mode button will swipe through the user selectable flight modes. The controller feels secure in your hand while being small and sturdy to be carried in your backpack.
A single-handed FPV controller
You know what it’s like in the tech sector. There are a lot of startups with great ideas for products, but not much more than that. MotionPilot, we’re pleased to say, has a fully functioning product. Check it out:
We would absolutely love to try one of these controllers out. We’d also love to ask the MotionPilot gang a few questions. We’ve dropped them an email and can hopefully provide more deets soon. Because we are particularly interested in plans MotionPilot had to bring this product to Kickstarter. We checked, and it doesn’t look like it’s been up there yet… but we’re hoping.
What about the DJI FPV / Joystick?
Glad you asked (well, glad I asked). When we wrote about that yesterday, we raised the question of ergonomics. How would you operate a joystick in the field (assuming the tip was true)? Don’t joysticks need to be clamped securely to a fixed surface? No one’s going to bring a gaming desk to the flying field.
Seeing the MotionPilot Vector controller gave us the little shift in perspective we needed. With the right electronics, there would be no need for a joystick to be clamped to anything. It would simply be operated in space, just like the controller we’ve just seen. It’s clearly doable.
We also heard, fyi, from a pilot who has adapted a joystick for flying some RC products.
So the concept is out there. It’s just waiting for someone to fully execute.
And, in the absence of a DJI joystick, MotionPilot’s Vector looks like a great product.
And what’s next for MotionPilot?
We’d love to know. So guys, if you get our email, please drop us a note. We are really hoping you guys are still a going concern (we note your videos are from a year ago)… and that this product is, somewhere, still in the pipeline. Because it’s an awesome idea.